Wednesday, March 02, 2011

slow to standing.

challenge yourself. it's something that we'd all put on a coffee mug if we could, sitting at our little dinette in our little apartment, something that we could look at and feel good about, just because we've seen it, and bought the mug, and think that way a little bit, and admire it, and quasi believe it. but really, there's a kind of fatalistic fire that i've been engulfed by over the course of the last few months as i've been staring around at me across the people who i know are capable of massive things and massive thought who are just sitting on it, and pouring the contents of their mugs into their stomach and going to work. and then we go to work. and it's very serious. and we get home. and put together little parties for ourself until we have to get up tomorrow and restring the puppets.

i have been the Messenger of the Great Excuse on a fairly constant basis. justine called me out on it in a pretty sterile moment in front of dan smith, something about me completely stopping my creative process while we were together. getting home, watching tv, accomplishing nothing. filling the mug. dave called me out on it i think it was during the onslaught of birthday facebook wall posts with something like, "here's to all of the projects that we should have started but have never finished" or something along those lines. i am fully accountable for that entire process. and in the last year, i've "put out" some things i've been proud of, stayed motivated and active, and have continued to build this kinetic force of building hands that i am a bit addicted to. not entirely looking for fame or infamy because i'd eventually fuck that up too. just want to leave behind a library to validate my existence and to chronicle the things i've thought and felt and been able to spawn. even if just amidst friends. to let them know that the possibility is there.

there are a few things that gripped the lower wrungs of my ribcage in this year in particular that didn't hurt or kill me or injure me, but they definitely had me full on by my entire frame and showed me a few things i might have been meant for or against.

my grandmother died in january, and to be honest, it's not even a matter of losing a human being who i'd had a history with. she was a woman related to me and a lot of the older pieces of my family have stories about her, but for my little branch of the family, it meant nothing. she gave birth to my father and walked away. his sisters and brother raised him in her household while she kind of watched from the outside. as i grew older and understood what kinds of implications that had on his entire life, and related a lot of the stories and events i had been present for and grasped the weight of, i started to realize that i had no built-in commitment to this person. i kind of allowed a lot of my contextual obligations to fall off and started to react accordingly. and i'm at where i'm at now, where out of respect for the family members i do honor, i made myself present at the first ever funeral i've ever been to. and i wasn't just that 29 year old oddity standing on the outskirts, i definitely approached people i haven't seen in a long time, paid my respects, engaged them in conversations about their lives, the particular context and so on. aortal bookkeeping, on some level. but in that room, i started to get a massive grip on mortality. not the idea, so much, that i was eventually going to die and would no longer get to do the things that i wanted to do or experience, but moreso that i would never get to allow the people around me to really know how i felt about them. and really, that's the kind of memories that i want to pass on to others. sheer validation. the concept that i've noticed what they're attempting, that they were appreciated, that they're beautiful in all the ways they had anything to do with. they're white hot intelligent when they went for it. that i recognize that they went for it. things of that nature. i want everyone to know their fullest potential, and i'll do whatever i can to bring them to it. i want to be the one holding back the sheet metal until the last fucking second while everyone's slipping underneath, moving forward, surviving on, against an oncoming horde or inferno. i want to make sure they're all going to make it.

i have personally always written letters or stories or put things out expecting a response. even just last night, when i was talking about the whole new stand-up comedy endeavor i'm going to start to approach soon, i guess i was sort of hoping someone would say, "i agree with your attempt. it resonates to me. i have high hopes in your endeavor." but i have never received the kind of echo that i'd hope to get. i can only do the best thing i can with what i've got. and if i'm going to try anything, i'm going to do it based on my own reaction to it. if i feel that it's shit, it's shit. and i'll create again, and improve. and again and again. bigger and sharper. carved up and more beautiful. irrefutable. i want it always to be something i'm proud of. i want it to be done because it's done and what i wanted and not because i had to. i'm seeing so many more opportunities out there, and not just things to be looked at and held up against. everything is interactive and small. and hilarious. there is no good day for anything to happen, no right moment. sometimes you just have to sit next to the fat guy on the bus. this is what's happening. i've always waited for the formula to solve itself and calmly insert the variable and have it smoothly coagulate. always. i'm exhausted with the waiting for the lead up, and the pause in a conversation for myself to insert what i'd been waiting a week to say. it's 2:45 in the afternoon and i think you're beautiful. you just might enjoy something i've got.

and last night, for the first time in what feels like a year, myself, dave, brian, and anthony were together in a quiet room in our own space, sharing these massive thoughts and concepts and ideas. we were starting with catching up, but actually spoke on and on about different themes and issues and so on and it's something that was completely unreal. the group of friends i've known has always existed just behind the doors for me. and it actually made me really sad to see that it's still in tact, it still exists, it's still a reality. but we've all kind of shut the doors a bit. it made me feel that every single one of my friends is too busy to pick up the phone to hear something i've got in store for them. i was told, "that's just how it goes, i guess." but i can't agree to it. i refuse to. i have a social life. i have a job that i work, and it's not some part time gig. i don't shirk responsibility or chores or requests or my cat or hygiene. i have the same amount of time in every day that every one else has to deal with. and i still have the time to put together these dream journals, the poem, the mix cd, to handwrite the tracklistings, to copy the stuff i'm handing out, to cut and compile it, and to keep working on more. to ingest films and records and to feel a way about them. i guess it kind of made me wonder about what i might be doing wrong, what i might be leaving out that everyone else is keeping in. i want to reflect things off of these people and build massive temples of light. but i end up feeling like that six year old neighbor knocking on the door to look at your baseball cards. again.

i wrote her a letter.
i compared you to her.
you will never hear your name.


david jonathan newman said...

#1, I'm always interested to see what you work on, and pretty much always will be. I'm sure it's the same way with Natoli and Bri.

#2, the other night with the 4 of us in a room again WAS unreal. it was refreshing that we still have 'it', whatever it may be, that unspoken aura of connection that is so rare and special. I don't think we are closing doors, I just feel like as we get older, we get more buried in whatever day-to-day detritus comes around.

As far as what you wrote about needing to be prolific and create just for the sake of creation, I hear you brother. it's something I've struggled with for over a decade now. I constantly go back and forth between "I'm sitting on SO MUCH potential, what the hell am I doing, I need to either find a project to create music in, or push to get this solo project going, or get this book together, or write some more for the blog, or etc etc etc literally dozens of projects... and then the flipside of that is unfortunately, giving up. it's like letting out a massive sigh and knowing that some things are just beyond your control. knowing that you need time for yourself too, and that you're old enough to know that you're not trying to PROVE anything anymore - you know what talents you have and what you can and will do for the rest of your life, regardless of your turnout.
Prolificity means nothing unless you're happy with the results, and you're doing it for the *right* reasons. I've stopped trying to prove anything to anyone, I've grown beyond that need. I know who I am and what I can do. I've already accomplished more in my lifetime that 95% of the population can and will ever do. Does that mean I'm going to stop? Hell no. But there's more to my life than even creative output or the need to feel superior to the general population (or even my past self) by fashioning myself as some wordsmith god or gift to the microphone.
I think what I'm trying to say is, enjoy your life. I definitely agree with the notion of challenging yourself; it's something most people won't ever do nowadays and that's sad. but just make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. there's nothing wrong with taking a week off, a month off, a year off, if you're doing it for the right reasons. I'm sure I don't have to remind you that Bukowski's tombstone reads, "Don't Try." don't force it, don't push it if it isn't there. you can still have an awesome life regardless of your output, because at the end of the day you can still choose your input. and you can control that.

Brian Martinez said...

If I've ever not motivated you to do something regarding creative output, my mistake was in not conveying what I was thinking and feeling, because I think yours is a mind that more people need to read and hear. I've been honored to be one of the few. I said it before, to me you feel like a kept secret and I envy your work often. And I always have time to pick up the phone for you. If I'm at work I'll call you back. THAT'S how it really goes, anything less is giving up.

If any of the above comes across like I'm offended that's definitely not the case. It's just that every time I read something of yours I think, "Jesus Christ, why is this only published by a photocopier?" Don't get me wrong, I like the aesthetic, but it's a shame that scores of untalented are spreading schlock out there while you remain statistically unread. That's why I've pushed you toward self-publishing by ebook. Even if its free SOMEONE is reading it.

And I agree with most of what Dave said except for one thing: he still has something to prove to ME.